Earn Your Online Master's Degree in Special Education
Like most teaching fields, anyone who wants to make a career in Special Ed will eventually need a graduate degree. For teaching, the master's degree is sufficient, but if you want a six figure salary and want to contribute to research in teaching special needs children, you will need to earn a doctoral degree as well. This is usually a Ph.D, although in education, modifications are available, such as the doctorate in education (D.Ed), a Doctor of Arts (D.A), and others.
Special education teachers on rare occasion could be working with students who are exceptionally bright (gifted), or possibly with early childhood, but usually special education schools focus on teaching you to meet the needs of students who are variously challenged.
Special ed teachers take the same courses as those earning degrees for k-12 as far as traditional disciplines such as history, math, reading, science, etc. are concerned. However, those planning to teach challenged students will take additional courses in special education and may even be required to complete an entire fifth year in order to complete a student teaching program which is mentored by a teacher who is working in the field. read more »
Schools offering an online Special Education degree program
Since a degree in Special Ed is nearly always a master's degree, you can actually earn your bachelor's degree in any education field that interests you—from science to music. The program in special education will involve learning how to adapt and develop curricula to meet the needs of special students, how to manage class disruption, how to use technology to enable students who otherwise would be severely limited in their ability to complete an education, and how to handle students with various problems and disabilities. Thus, you will take classes in Educational Psychology, Learning and Behavior Disabilities, Legal Issues of Special Education, behavioral management, and family and community counseling, among others.
Once you have completed the program at one of the numerous special education schools, you will need to take the National Teacher Exam for your state and may need to take the specialty test for special education as well. Once you are licensed in one state, it is usually fairly easy to transfer your license from one state to another as many states are reciprocal.
Expected Salaries and Job Outlook
Special education teachers usually have about the same salary as those teaching regular classes, which can range from as low as $20,000 to as much as $80,000 a year. Most teachers do not teach for the money, but rather because they have a passion for molding and guiding the development of today's students. You could earn more as a special education coordinator or as a director of the special ed program in your school district.